MORE POTATO NOTES
Jumbo yellow fingerlings are extremely tight. Jumbo fingerlings are not grown as jumbo fingerlings; they are a by-product of the best-selling two to four inch standard yellow fingerlings which are the vast majority of the market. There is also a market for mini-fingerlings called pee-wees that are two inches and under and they are a by-product as well. The point of all this is that if the crop does not yield a large amount of oversize or undersize the grower won’t be complaining. We source the country to keep our customers’ needs meet but sometimes, it’s just not there. Red potatoes are going to get very tight for the next two weeks and the product will reflect that as well. Red creamers are already very tight and showing defects but new harvests are coming on quickly and the gap will end soon. Beware of early skinning as the market tightens up and the skins don’t.
Two weeks ago we wrote about the new yellow tomato harvest in Florida. We indicated a strong harvest and a good selection of many sizes. Then it rained for eleven days in a row. We are now looking at about two more weeks of picking and packing before this now brief season is complete. We can offer about two loads of smalls for processing and maybe one load of 5×6 and larger. This completes the Florida tomato program. Crops will creep up the coast through the Carolina’s into Virginia and Maryland but there won’t be any volume of yellows to speak of. So, aside from the pallet here or there we are now looking at late September when northern Florida begins a much safer and assured crop.
Once again the cherry crop in Morgan Hill was attacked by the rains, wiping out just over two-thirds of the crop. Fortunately for the grower an insurance program kicks in to cover the loss but unfortunately for the customer the grower can’t pack out product. Based on the last six years this cherry damaging rain seems to be the norm, not the exception. While the cherries suffer, the apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots and plumcots drink up the rains, grow and get sweeter. They will begin harvest early June and there is already a good supply of the Baby Crawford Peaches and Greengage Plums predicted. If you have plans to visit Monterey this summer for any of the food shows, make sure to plan a few hours for a stop at Andy’s. You won’t taste better stone fruit or learn more about the nectars of the gods.
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??
I am the fruit of a small South American tree, Bixia orellana. I reside in a seedpod with a prickly exterior for protection. A pulp that makes for a very popular food dye surrounds me. In the 16th Century, Spaniards were amazed to find I was used by Mexicans to redden their chocolate beverages. American Indians once used me to color their bodies orange red, but today I am used to color cheeses, butter, smoked fish and baked goods. Although I am primarily used for my color, I do provide a slight musky flavor. I am often crushed into a powder and used as a regular condiment in Latin America and India. I am often gently heated in oil or lard simply to provide color and then cooled and stored for later use. Available in a powder, paste or seed form I’m an essential ingredient in pibil, a Yucatan dish where I am used to marinate chicken parts providing a glowing color and a pungent flavor. In Southeast Asia, I am essential in the production of ukoy, a shrimp and potato cake. In some cultures I am used as a substitute for saffron. Saffron has much more flavor, but is significantly more expensive. I have no real vitamins or minerals of any value to speak of, but I am definitely a good source of color.
Answer to last weeks quiz..FENNEL…Congratulations to all winners!
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015